HC Deb 30 March 1961 vol 637 cc1518-9
38. Mr. Dugdale

asked the Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations if he will give an assurance that he will not agree to the extradition to the Union of South Africa from Basutoland of Nyaka Tsulo.

The Joint Under-Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations (Mr. Bernard Braine)

Any application under the Fugitive Offenders Act for the return of a person from Basutoland to the Union of South Africa is a matter for the courts.

Mr. Dugdale

While appreciating what the hon. Gentleman says, may I ask him whether he will agree that this man is charged with a political offence, so that it is reasonable that he should not be extradited?

Mr. Braine

If anybody enters Basutoland and, on the ground that he has committed an offence, a warrant is issued for his arrest, that is a question for the courts. I am certain that we can rely on the courts of Basutoland to apply the ordinary British standards of justice, as they have always done.

Mr. Fletcher

Will the hon. Gentleman bear in mind that now that South Africa has announced her intention of leaving the Commonwealth, totally different considerations arise? Will he make sure that what he said about the Fugitive Offenders Act still applies? In any case, if this is a political offence, is not the hon. Gentleman aware that some administrative action may also be required?

Mr. Braine

This is certainly one of the matters which we shall be considering as a result of the event to which the hon. Gentleman has referred.

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